Hudson -- Technology is constantly evolving, and the city's IS/GIS department has helped local government keep up with the newest trends in communication and information sharing.
City Information Systems Manager Bill Hilbish provided City Council with an overview of his department Jan. 22 in the latest in a series of presentations by city department heads.
The information systems side of the department handles computers and communication, while the geographic informations systems side creates maps to help locate c utilities, trees, cemetery plots and other city assets.
Hilbish and Geographic Information Systems Manager Paul Leedham are the only full-time positions in the department, overseen by the city's finance department.
The city created the IS/GIS department in 2004 by hiring Hilbish. He is in charge of daily maintenance and management of the city's computer network system.
Since 2004, the department has been able to consolidate 95 percent of the city's users into a single network domain, connected to the same active directory network through fiber optic cable, Hilbish said. On the city's website, residents can now find storm water, sewer and electric lines, property information, grave sites at city cemeteries, and more thanks to GIS work.
The department is now helping the city shift to a more mobile system so employees can use smart phones, wireless notebooks and laptops, in addition to personal computers.
"Now everyone needs a computer to do their job," Hilbish said. "There are a million emails per month in the city."
New changes include moving information from physical servers to a virtual environment, Hilbish said.
Hilbish recommends the city hire a network administrator, which Council has included in the 2013 budget. A network administrator, with a salary around $60,000, would have a higher skill level and would take on installation, computer support and network administration duties.
Hilbish would be able to reduce his network administration time in half and increase project management, research and development time.
Council member Alex Kelemen wanted to know what the city has gained since 2004.
Hilbish couldn't provide a dollar amount, but said the gain has been in information and knowledge that is accessible by everyone.
City employees can communicate better, work smarter and are more efficient, said Mayor William Currin.
The biggest beneficiary of the department's work has been the city's utility workers, who benefit from better GIS information, according to Assistant City Manager Scott Schroyer.
"They've gained efficiency with technology," Schroyer said. "We can manage problems and troubleshoot quicker."